Paycheck Protection Initiative:Giving Workers a Voice or Taking it Away?
The AFL-CIO is approaching this year’s mid-term election with a different strategy than employed in the half billion dollar failure to unseat congressional conservatives in 1996. Big Labor promises to use less in-your-face tactics and more carefully crafted messages aimed at specific groups, such as women. Beginning in April, union representatives will stage at least 1,000 rallies for working women nationwide—700 more than last year.
The Facts on Free Trade
The debate over granting President Clinton’s fast-track authority to negotiate international trade and investment agreements (postponed until next year) has given rise to a larger debate on expansionism vs. protectionism of U.S. trade policy. Protectionists, who are against fast-track authority, claim that expanding trade has a negative impact on the U.S economy. Supporters of trade expansion realize that free trade policies actually increase jobs and improve the economy. NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) has been used by both sides in support of their claims that free trade is harmful or beneficial, respectively. Following are general facts about free trade along with a closer look at the results of NAFTA in the U.S. and Nevada during its first three years, 1994 to 1996.
The Future is Now for High-Level Nuclear Waste
Nevadans did not plan to deal with high-level nuclear waste shipments until (or if) Yucca Mountain gets approved. But high-level waste is entering the state earlier than expected. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will ship spent nuclear fuel rods from foreign research reactors from Concord through northern Nevada to Idaho Falls starting in 1998. This is not the first time high-level nuclear waste will come through the state, but it is the first time for northern Nevada. All Nevada congressional representatives, along with Governor Miller, have voiced concerns the DOE has yet to tackle. Californians are taking a more active approach—environmentalists and conservative politicians—have joined together to protest the shipments. Nothing can be done to stop the shipments, but politicians are attempting to influence the route the DOE chooses.
Everyone is Still Asking: Why All the Hoopla?
It’s not every day the President, Vice President, three Cabinet secretaries, their deputies, an agency head, two governors, nine members of Congress and numerous other elected state officials all gather under one roof. The declining health of the Lake Tahoe Basin was the proclaimed reason for the gathering of these powers—dubbed the Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum. Last weekend’s Forum has put Lake Tahoe in the media spotlight since late May. Three workshops on water quality, forest health and transportation supposedly helped the Administration gather local opinion to be relayed to the President at the Forum. Along with providing a venue to tell Clinton about all of the Basin’s problems, organizers anticipated a pledge of $300 million from the federal government. With months of hype and regional media coverage, the President’s announcement on Saturday was anticlimactic. He encouraged continued cooperation between various groups via a meaningless executive order and promised only $50 million—an increase of $26 million over current funding. Now residents of Nevada and California are left asking, why all the hoopla? Following is a look at what was promised and possible other motives behind this event.
It is not a sin to cut a green tree
The health of the forests in the Lake Tahoe Basin is of paramount importance to not only local residents, but President Clinton. It is one of three major topics to be discussed at the Tahoe Forum on July 26 and 27. The natural beauty of Tahoe is the area’s greatest asset and revenue producer—it attracts tourists on which local economy depends.
Smoke Screen: "Benefits" from New Clean Air Regulations
Government-imposed environmental regulations must constantly weigh the cost to the nation—economic effect—against the benefits to the environment—environmental effect. The Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory mandates tend to tip the scale in favor of the environmental effect at a high cost to the taxpayers, often with unproven environmental benefits. Superfund Cleanup sites are one example. The proposed Clean Air Act mandates could be another. The EPA’s new air quality standards have caused an uproar since they were proposed last November. President Clinton must decide on July 17 whether or not he will sign the regulations into law. He must weigh the economic effect against the environmental and, in this case, health benefits some say will be achieved. Following is a look at what recent studies show about the cost of these regulations and the expected effects.
Unions: Another Attempt to Monopolize the Public Sector
In what is becoming a rite of spring, a compulsory public sector bargaining bill is once again on the table of the Assembly Government Affairs Committee this session. Versions of Assembly Bill 310 have been proposed for the past six years, with varying degrees of success. A.B. 310 would authorize collective bargaining for "persons employed by the State of Nevada, its boards, commissions, agencies and departments, the public employees’ retirement system, the University and Community College System of Nevada and any other employer that receives money from the state." (A.B. 310) Part-time employees and several positions in the state printing and micrographics division of the department of administration are excluded. The bill also creates a labor relations board specifically designed to deal with state employment disputes.
What is a Charter School?
Discussions of education reform often include the term "charter schools," but misconceptions and misunderstandings often accompany this term. Simply put, a charter school is a publicly-funded entity operating free of many of the regulations under which traditional public schools operate. Specifically, they are legally and fiscally autonomous educational entities operating within the public school system under charters or contracts. The charters are negotiated between organizers and sponsors. The organizers may be teachers, parents, or others from the public or private sectors. The sponsors may be local school boards, state school boards, or other public authorities such as universities. The concept is aimed at producing increased responsiveness to the demands of parents, students and teachers, and greater opportunities for innovation in school management and education. Twenty-six states as well as Washington D.C. have passed varying types of charter school legislation. Nevada Senate Bill 220 reintroduces potential charter school legislation for our state. The following is a list of the main components of an ideal charter school model compared to S.B. 220 as well as case studies from California and Arizona.
School-to-Work: The Right Model to Use
In an era of ever-changing educational fads and ideologies, school-to-work programs have entered the arena. This widely-debated program is part of Goals 2000, a federal education reform plan, and places more emphasis on vocational training in schools than currently in our curriculum. Pressure is on from the federal government to implement the program by issuing grants for states to develop and integrate vocationally-based coursework. Assembly Bill 191, called the School-to-Careers bill, is Nevada’s attempt to put this program into law. The idea of graduating students with "real-world" knowledge is taken from the German education system – world-renowned for its excellence. But some key differences exist between the German Model and School-to-Careers – differences that might destroy a potentially successful program. Here with a look at how the German education system is structured.